TA Tech Business NewZ is the only weekly publication that focuses entirely on product announcements, business investments, merger and acquisitions and strategic trends in the talent technology industry. It is designed for executives, thought leaders and anyone else looking to stay on top of the ever-morphing world of talent tech business.
To provide some perspective on the weekly updates included in TA Tech Business NewZ (sign up here), TAtech also publishes Talent Tech Joe, a quarterly summary of the key trends shaping the field of talent technology. Each quarter, Talent Tech Joe highlights the major dynamics affecting the organizations that design, develop, produce and sell technology-based talent acquisition products and services.
Before we introduce Q3's Talent Tech Joe, however, we offer the following shameless plug:
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Q3 Talent Tech Joe
Trend #1: AI Cognitive Dissonance is Rising in the Market
The market now simultaneously holds two views of artificial intelligence, each of which is incompatible with the other. On the one hand, there are organizations that are fielding generation-after-generation of new AI products confident that they will improve recruiters’ performance, and on the other, there are researchers and commentators who believe there must be better oversight of the development and use of AI if it is not to undermine the very people it is supposed to help. For example:
• In July, TopFunnel, an AI-powered recruiting platform, acquired Teamable, an employee referral platform, to create an “end-to-end sourcing platform”;
• Also in July, researchers in England and Holland panned the draft EU Artificial Intelligence Act as “fake ethics,” citing its weak provisions for controlling applications of the technology;
• In August, Talview, an AI-powered hiring and proctoring solution, raised $15M in a Series B round, bringing its total funding to $21.8M; and
• Also in September, VentureBeat published an article entitled “We are sleepwalking into AI-augmented work” without understanding its long-term implications for working men & women.
The question is: will one view prevail leading to either more rapid or much slower development of the technology or will there continue to be both support for and concerns about its development and use?
Trend #2: Investors Are Betting on a Two Track TA Strategy
Angel, private equity and venture capital investors seem to be betting that employers are primarily interested in just two applications of talent technology in their efforts to address today’s tight labor market. Some are focusing on products that improve the efficiency of the recruiting process so prospects are moved through the funnel in a more timely fashion, while others are championing more powerful sourcing tools that will identify and connect with new pockets of talent. For example:
• In July, SmartRecruiter raised $110M in Series E funding to expand its business and enhance its solution for helping employers run their recruiting processes more smoothly and effectively;
• In August, Workstream raised $48M in a Series B round to help local hospitality and healthcare businesses hire hourly workers faster by enabling them to source and recruit on the phone;
• In September, YouCruit raised $11.5M to support further growth of Lanefinder, its trucking industry marketplace app to help employers find and hire more truck drivers; and
• Also in September, Oyster brought its Series B raise to $75M to fuel the growth of its platform for hiring, paying and providing benefits to workers across borders.
The question is: will employers adopt and effectively use new technology-based tools to address the talent shortfall or will they simply continue to do what they’ve always done and hope for better results?
Trend #3: Acquisitions Are Growing in the Talent Technology Market
Talent technology companies are snapping up other talent technology companies at a rapid pace. Some are expanding the range of services they can offer to employers or the markets in which they operate while others are eliminating competitors. Though such deals have always occurred in the TA industry, the pace seems to be accelerating as companies look to gain a competitive advantage with buyers that appear primed to invest in new products and services. For example:
• In July, enterprise AI software and services company Veritone announced that it was acquiring PandoLogic, an AI-enabled programmatic solution for recruitment advertising;
• Also in July, DE&I solutions provider Circa acquired DiversityJobs.com, a diversity recruitment and OFCCP compliance solutions provider;
• In August, talent platform Instawork acquired Drafted, a network recruiting platform that helps businesses hire by leveraging referrals; and
• Also in August, conversational AI company Paradox acquired Traitify to further streamline its hourly hiring solution with fast, simple mobile-first assessments.
The question is: can the companies’ different cultures and products be effectively integrated so the goals of the acquisitions are achieved or will internal pushback and friction undermine the deals?